Thinking of starting a new festival in Durango? Well, get it on the docket now because the calendar is filling up. From the Bluegrass Meltdown to the Coffee Festival, Durango hosts all interests of festivals. The newest addition is the Durango Public Librarys Literary Festival, which begins Thursday and continues through Saturday.
Workshops, storytelling, panel discussions, music and readings are on the agenda, all to be presented by local authors.
Libby Cowles, community relations manager at Marias Bookshop, said the idea for a festival based on books spawned from a conversation held more than a year ago that developed into the Durango Showcase of the Arts, the umbrella project of which the Literary Festival is the librarys component in the 10-day event. The local independent bookseller is co-sponsoring the literary festival.
Its important to acknowledge how rich our community is in the literary arts, Cowles said, referring to the diverse spectrum of literary artists including publishers, illustrators, editors and writers who all call Durango home.
Although many of the writers focus on themes of connecting culture and place, storytelling of all interests will be covered, including a workshop on storytelling for children with Sari Ross on Saturday.
Authors were invited to participate in the festival through an announcement in The Durango Herald, and applicants were selected with an eye for diversity and balance, library Director Andy White said. The format will be similar to a professional conference where participants can attend any of the workshops Thursday or Friday for free, at their leisure, with no registration required.
A panel of local writers featuring Katherine Leiner, Blake Crouch and Ken Wright will convene Thursday night. The authors will talk about their craft and answer questions.
Leiners book Growing Roots: The New Generation of Sustainable Farmers, Cooks and Food Activists will appeal to Durangos appreciation for organically grown food using sustainable practices.
Often seen writing at The Steaming Bean, Crouch is Durangos hometown thriller master. His fourth and latest book, Snowbound, recently received a starred review in Booklist magazine.
Wright, also known as the Monkey Wrench Dad, has been musing about the state of life and land of the Four Corners in numerous books and in a column for Inside/Outside magazine.
The workshops are a great entry way for new writers offering a good range of advice, Cowles said.
On Friday, Craig Childs will give an explosive multimedia presentation and keynote address stemming from his most recent book, Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession.
Amy Irvine is a sixth-generation Utah resident and longtime wilderness advocate, award-winning author and teacher. Making A Difference, her first book, was one of three books featured in the Washington Post for Earth Day 2002 and was sent from representatives of the outdoor recreation industry to every member of Congress and the Executive Office that year.
Childs and Irvine will partner to offer an all-day workshop Saturday titled, Back to the Loincloth: Hunting and Gathering Sustenance through the Art of Story. Participants will venture outside the public library grounds and gain literary ideas by observing the natural world, engaging in group discussions and honing the craft of storytelling through writing exercises. Twenty slots are available for the workshop, which costs $75 and requires preregistration. With half of the slots already filled, Durango is showing that it is receptive to this literary outlet.
Karin L. Becker teaches composition at Fort Lewis College. Reach her at becker_K@fortlewis.edu.